UPDATE at 2 p.m. Tuesday: Trump's trip to South Carolina has been confirmed by the White House; his visit to Boeing has been confirmed by company officials.
President Donald Trump might be coming to North Charleston Friday to visit the Boeing South Carolina campus, according to unconfirmed reports from various media outlets.
CNN aerospace reporter Jon Ostrower tweeted the news on Saturday, which he attributed to CNN White House correspondent Jeff Zeleny.
The Federal Aviation Administration published a notice today informing pilots of restricted airspace on Friday because of “VIP movement” in the area. The FAA said all aircraft operators should check back for further information before flying in the vicinity.
“Pilots can expect airspace restrictions in conjunction with this VIP movement,” the notice said.
All Things 787, an aerospace blog by analyst Uresh Sheth, said the first-ever 787-10 is currently in the new paint hangar on the North Charleston campus.
“This aircraft should roll out of the paint hangar on Feb. 16,” Sheth wrote in the post — which would coincide with Trump’s visit. Final assembly work began on the jet in December at the North Charleston plant.
Boeing South Carolina declined to comment on whether a visit is happening or on any potential reasons for a visit.
“You’ll have to contact the White House,” Boeing S.C. spokeswoman Elizabeth Merida said in an email. “We don’t have a comment on the rumors out there.”
The White House did not respond to requests for comment by press time.
Trump’s comments during an S.C. campaign stop and on other occasions since becoming president have sometimes put him at odds with Boeing Co.
During a campaign stop in Colleton County last year, Trump said Boeing’s plans to build a plant in China meant the plane manufacturer would likely abandon its S.C. facilities within five years, according to The Post and Courier.
More recently, he called the cost of Boeing’s Air Force One jets outrageous, and he called for canceling the order via a Tweet. Boeing said it would work to keep the two jets below $4 billion, according to media outlets across the country.
Boeing is building a brand new 747 Air Force One for future presidents, but costs are out of control, more than $4 billion. Cancel order!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 6, 2016
If a presidential visit occurs — which would be a first for the Boeing S.C. campus — it would be two days after Boeing workers vote on whether to unionize the North Charleston facilities by joining the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers.
The union and Boeing both have advertised heavily via billboards, radio ads, TV commercials, companywide emails and informational pamphlets in attempts to secure “yes” or “no” votes ahead of Wednesday’s election. The IAM plans to hold a “vote yes” rally in North Charleston at 3 p.m. today.